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"Moonlight Encounter On The Mississippi" - by John Stobart

Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Print

Image size: 20" x 31"

Edition size:

Price: Call for price and availability--800-237-6077

In the 1860's and 1870's, lumber from northern sawmills was the most important item of traffic on the upper Mississippi. As the log rafts floated along on the river's current toward Natchez, Baton Rouge, or New Orleans, they often encountered steamboats piloted by captains intent on avoiding the treacherous snags, whirlpools, and fog of the river. Mark Twain maintained that the raftsmen were "fiddling, song singing, whiskey-drinking, breakdown-dancing rapscallions." Harsh words, but then, Mark Twain was a steamboat pilot.

As Captain Frederick Way, Jr., the former Mississippi River pilot, has pointed out; the raftsmen were not entirely irresponsible. On rainy or windy nights or when fog threatened, they guided their rafts by oar and sweep into safe moorings, but in this painting, the moon is shining brightly; there's a long and safe reach ahead; the crew is bored, and so they borrow the lantern and let'er float in the channel as they play poker in the shanty house.

The raftsmen become aware of the steamer bearing down on them just as the pilot spots the dim outline of the raft and pulls his vessel hard down to port.

Another collision has been avoided, and it's back to the cards and the tedium of the solitary night.

 

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